To conclude my blogging in Tonga, I'd like to leave you with my list of all the things I'll miss about this place. I daresay a few more will crop up once I get home.
Things I will Miss about Tonga:
* Riding everywhere on my bike (yes, I know I will have the best intentions of doing this once I get home, but give me an early start on a mid-winter morning in Canberra, and I doubt it very much!)
* The great connections and friendships I have made here, with both my workmates and other volunteers, many of whom I may never see again
* The staff of the Friends cafe all knowing my name, and their beautiful beaming smiles when they greet me
* Tonga Time
* Wearing thongs to work...also not having to worry too much about how I look (as long as shoulders and knees are covered, of course!). Not spending 20 mins standing in front of my wardrobe moaning that I “Have Nothing to Wear” – which is ironic, because I have 4 or 5 times as many clothes back home as I do here!
* The amazing snorkelling – and doing laps of the harbour to keep fit!
* Proximity to the beach; a half hour bike or boat ride is way better than a 2-hour car trip from Canberra!
* The warm weather
* The humidity making my hair and skin (aside from eczema, of course!) look fabulous!
* The sense of warmth and community that envelops so much of what Tonga is all about. This includes the fact that there is very little homelessness, or institutionalisation.
* Blogging – let’s face it, life back home ain’t THAT interesting!
* The view from work...when I go across the road to the waterfront to eat my lunch, and gaze out at the epitome of a tropical paradise – clear blue water, islands and palm trees. So, so beautiful!
*The cute little jumping spiders and geckos (not to be mistaken with the giant huntsman-type spiders or Giant Geckos of Fafa island!)
* Having as much water as you could possibly use, and more! No water restrictions here, where rain is measured in inches rather than mls
* Fish and chips – especially from Cottage Breeze, picnic-style on the waterfront!
* Faikakai – a delicious desert made from manioke flour in a sweet coconut milk sauce – mmmmm...
* Fresh young coconuts to eat and drink, freely available from any tree handy
* Being warm
*The amazing and random things that you just don’t get in Oz – like volcanoes and earthquakes!
* and finally, one of the surprise perks of living in Tonga was people not batting an eyelid at my name (Isa being a common shortening of the name Luisa), a first ever experience for me!
It has been a dynamite 10 months, that's for sure! Thanks for reading - 'ofa atu!